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Are Labrador Retrievers Smart?

Are Labrador Retrievers Smart

The issue of intelligence is a common question among individuals or families planning to own a dog. After all, if you desire your pet to be your best friend, guard, and companion, it is only right to choose the smartest one.

Labrador Retrievers are famous for their friendliness, energy, and companionship, but are they intelligent?

Are Labrador Retrievers smart?

Labrador Retrievers, commonly called Labs, are medium-sized and powerfully-built dogs with small drop ears and a water-resistant coat.

Statistics indicate that the labrador retriever is the seventh smartest and most intelligent dog breed globally. Knowing how intelligent these dogs are will help you determine how you should treat and behave around them.

Stanley Coren, a popular canine psychologist, conducted a study and established criteria to measure the intelligence of each dog breed.

The criteria evaluated the number of repetitions each breed needed to learn a new command and the rate at which it obeyed a popular command on the first trial. Based on that study, the following factors revealed Labrador Retrievers’ intelligence.

Easy to Train

Firstly, Labrador Retrievers demonstrated their ability to learn instructions fast. In Coren’s study, this breed learned a new command in only five attempts, which is quite impressive. This explains why it is easy to train a Labrador Retriever.


According to the second criteria test in Coren’s study, Labs achieved a 95% success rate in following a well-known instruction on the first trial. This means that most of the dogs that participated in the study comfortably obeyed the commands on the first call.

Labs Vs. Ordinary Dogs

An ordinary dog needs about 25 to 40 attempts to comprehend a new command. Therefore, Labrador Retrievers must be wise if they only require five or fewer.

Additionally, regular dogs are not as obedient as Labs because they have a 50% success rate of obeying a popular command. This difference demonstrates that Labrador Retrievers can easily understand what one is saying or requesting them to do.

Other Measures of Intelligence

Coren evaluated a dog’s intelligence based only on working intelligence and obedience. However, other factors prove that Labrador Retrievers are intelligent dogs. Read on to know some of them.

Instinctive Intelligence

This factor refers to the unique ability or role people bred a dog for. Traditionally, every dog had a particular purpose besides being a pet.

For instance, dedicated breeders bred Labradors to be water retrievers and assist in fishing. That means Labrador Retrievers are ultimate water dogs, which explains why they love swimming or playing in the water.

This breed’s intuitive intelligence and inmate skill for swimming enabled them to pull fishnets or recover escaped fish. Today, Labrador Retrievers are still passionate about different water activities.

Emotional Intelligence

Another exciting thing about Labrador Retrievers is that they can study and evaluate their owners’ emotional well-being. For instance, they can tell when you are happy, sad, or uncomfortable.

Labrador Retrievers’ emotional intelligence is what makes them suitable for therapy work. In case of anything changes, they try to tap into your feelings and comfort you. They can also remember your daily schedule.

Adaptive Intelligence

This factor refers to a dog’s ability to adapt to new settings and situations and to learn new skills. Labrador Retrievers are extremely smart because they will follow you, seeking guidance and direction in their actions.

Additionally, they acquire new ideas just by observing different activities. For example, if your pet repeatedly watches you opening a gate or door, it will figure out how to do it.

If you want to prevent your Lab from opening locks to some restricted areas in your compound, you can set expectations for him during the training sessions.

Besides visual signs, studies have also shown that these dogs can learn auditory commands in different languages. Moreover, Labs can learn from their mistakes.

Adaptive intelligence proves that Labrador Retrievers are intelligent and fun pets. If you own one of them, there are countless opportunities and ideas for training him.

Which Labrador Retriever Color is the Smartest?

Labrador Retrievers come in yellow, black, and chocolate. Many people wonder whether there is a Labrador coloration that influences the dog’s level of intelligence.

The answer is no. Breeding, rather than coat color, determines a dog’s intelligence.

In most cases, a person’s individual experiences with a dog breed influence their opinions about it. For example, if you have dealt with a chocolate, mentally-challenged Labrador Retriever, you are likely to believe that chocolate labs are dumber than other colors, but that is not true.

However, the hunting fraternity favors black Labs and perceives them as more clever and easy to train. This is because a black dog can easily hide in the woodlands and be less visible to the prey than the yellow ones.

Over the past few years, the yellow and chocolate Labs have become more popular and improved their performance in work and competition. This change has enabled them to match their black counterparts.

What are Labs used for?

Their intelligence makes these friendly, entertaining, sweet-natured dogs great companions and family pets. They also assist in rescue missions. Law enforcers also use Labs to detect drugs and explosives.

How to Train Labrador Retrievers

Intelligent Labradors are easy to train. However, remember to be patient with them and control your emotions during the training sessions. Additionally, please give them a consistent daily routine to engage them mentally.

Labrador Retriever parents should remember that these dogs love pleasing their owners. For this reason, they will likely draw their attention to you or the professional trainer during training.

You can reciprocate this by giving them positive enforcement through a smile, stroking their head, or genuine verbal praise.

How to Entertain Labs

If you own a Labrador Retriever or are planning to get one, it is essential to know that these dogs love solving problems, facing challenges, and engaging in activities that stimulate them mentally.

When they get bored, they are likely to start exhibiting depressive behavior. To avoid this issue, you should find new ways to entertain them.

For instance, you can organize daily obedience training for your Lab. Alternatively, you can acquire different dog puzzles that require the pet to solve a particular problem to find a hidden treat.

Besides entertainment, these puzzles also make the dog enthusiastic, especially after solving the problem and finding the hidden treat.

You can also purchase intelligent toys that will keep the Labrador Retriever entertained and mentally occupied. Taking him for a walk or allowing him to go out and socialize with other dogs is also an excellent idea.

Are Labrador Retrievers for Me?

Many new dog owners choose a dog breed just because it is smart. However, it is also crucial to consider other factors, such as the personality, temperament, lifestyle, and fitment with your family, unless you need the pet for a particular job like herding.

Fortunately, Labrador Retrievers are adaptive and can accustom themselves to any new environment or situation.

They are famous in the US and other countries for a reason. Therefore, a Lab is perfect if you are looking for a friendly, affectionate, smart, and active dog breed.


In summary, Labrador Retrievers are more intelligent than average canines. Their adaptability makes them great companions and family dogs. You can quickly train and work with them, regardless of their coat color.